Grief and Loss in Children and Youth: ​Helping them cope with death & serious illness of a Loved One

This workshop is designed for Helping Professionals regardless whether they have psychological knowledge and background or not. This course is anchored on one key premise: The affected child still lives within a community of stakeholders. Any MEANINGFUL help rendered must consider his interaction with his environment, including parents and other professionals (such as child protection officer, court and lawyers).


Sylvia Tan

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Course Overview

As world population ages, we are witnessing an increased number of deaths and illnesses across the globe. Many families have experienced the death of family members or their loved ones developing serious illnesses. Naturally, children and adolescents are affected psychologically and emotionally.  

Grief and loss is a process; it may be experienced from the onset of the event, eg cancer prognosis, but may not end when the family member dies. Children and youths, too, will experience grief and loss. However, they experience and exhibit grief and loss differently from adults. Unless parents, caregivers, and mental health professionals are trained, they will likely miss signs that their children are struggling emotionally, or know how to support them adequately. As a result of lack of practical support, these children may develop emotional, mental, or behavioral baggages that hinder them throughout their entire lives.  

This workshop is designed to equip participants with a good understanding of the grief and loss process in children and youth. Participants will learn to identify signs of grief and loss in children. They will practice helpful strategies to help children and youths.

This workshop has 3 parts. Part 1 walks through the grief and loss process in children. Through an experiential exercise, participants will reflect on their own experiences with grief and loss in order to explore their own comfort level in supporting grieving children. Part 2 teaches practical skills and tools to support a grieving child/youth upon death of a loved one. Part 3 focuses on how to support a child when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness.

Target Audience

This workshop is suitable for participants with or without psychological background. It is suitable for:

  • Social workers, Counsellors and Psychologists 
  • Educators
  • Medical Social Workers working in hospitals and medical institutions
  • Pastoral care  and welfare staff

9 am to 5 pm 

Workshop Topics:

Part 1: Grief and Loss in Children

  • What is grief and loss?
  • How society and culture shape grief and loss
  • Impact of loss on the family system
  • Common misconception of grief and loss in children?
  • Experiential Exercise for participants to know:
    • their own process and mechanism in dealing with grief and loss
    • their comfort level to support grieving children and youth

Part 2: Supporting a Child When a Loved One Dies

  • The stages of grief, and how children and youths experience those stages.
  • The developmental stages and manifestation of grief for children and youths.
  • Impact of developmental stages and needs on how children cope, in particular with the death of a loved one.
  • Warning signs to look out for in children and youths experiencing grief upon death
  • How to support children and youths experiencing grief upon death

Part 3: Supporting a Child When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Serious Illness

  • Research on psychological and emotional impact of children and youths whose family member is diagnosed with serious illness
  • Warning signs to look out for in children and youth upon diagnosis
  • Practical strategies and skills to support the grieving child upon diagnosis

About the Trainer

Sylvia Tan
Ms Sylvia Tan is a registered Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Supervisor. She earned her Master of Psychology (Counselling) degree from Australia in 2002.In all, Sylvia has 17 years of clinical experience working as a psychologist in outpatient psychiatric clinics, community and government agencies both in Australia and Singapore. She has seen adults, adolescents and children with mental health difficulties such as depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, trauma, complex trauma, psychosis or personality difficulties. She has also worked with couples and families undergoing martial difficulties, divorce and separation.Also, Sylvia has 10 years experience in divorce and child custody related matters . She previously worked in the Family Justice Courts and the Community Psychology Hub as the lead psychologist and clinical supervisor for child custody evaluation reports. She was a clinical supervisor for psychologists working in the Divorce Specialist Support Agencies (DSSAs), dealing with complex cases of parental alienation and child access problems.

Available Funding

Normal Fees: S$580

SkillsFuture Credit: Can be used to pay course fee fully or partially
NTUC UTAP: NTUC union members enjoy 50% unfunded course fee support, capped at $250 or $500 (aged 40 years old and above)
NCSS VCF Pre- Approval Funding: $240
​​Schools & Ministries: e-invoicing via